Farrar, Straus & Giroux

In celebration of Banned Book Month at @1book140, join our Twitter book club to read the classic sci-fi fantasy novel and illicit classic A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle.

A Wrinkle in Time begins with Meg, "the awkward girl who suffered through flyaway hair, braces and glasses," who finds herself traveling through space and time with two young friends to rescue her absent father from the mysterious computer that imprisons him. Along the way, our heroes learn about philosophers, religious figures, and artists who have been fighting to keep the world safe and preserve human intelligence and purpose. R. L. Stine has called Meg a direct precursor of Katniss Everdeen, and Disney is now making the book into a movie, to be directed by Frozen director Jennifer Lee.

Madeleine L'Engle, who died in 2007, published 55 books of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, plays and memoir over a 50-year period. She spent many of them as librarian at St. John the Divine Cathedral in New York City and often "spoke of her writing as if she were taking dictation from her subconscious." In her 1963 Newbury Medal speech (pdf), indeed, L'Engle couldn't resist describing books in the dramatic language of the astronomer Fred Hoyle:

A book, too, can be a star, "explosive material, capable of stirring up fresh life endlessly," a living fire to lighten the darkness, leading out into the expanding universe.

In A Wrinkle in Time, characters travel through space and time with the help of the Tesseract, an object that exists in four dimensions. Carl Sagan explains the idea of a Tesseract in this wonderful video about dimensions. Sagan shows one projection of a tesseract in three-dimensional space, a geometric shape now popular in 3D printed jewelry and sculpture.

A Wrinkle in Time has been challenged for its extensive Biblical references and ecumenical perspective and alternately been criticized for being too religious and not religious enough. As we discuss the novel on Twitter, we'll pick out these scientific, historical, and theological references. We'll also host a Twitter Q&A with Chris Peterson, a board member on the National Coalition Against Censorship, to learn more about how banned books lists are created and discuss the current state of censorship on paper and on the Internet.

Reading Schedule for A Wrinkle in Time

To participate, find a copy of L'Engle's book, follow us at @1book140 and send a tweet to join the conversation so we know that you're reading along. To avoid spoilers, we spread our conversation across several hashtags. Click on each hashtag to see the conversation at that point in the book:

  • Week One: Chapters 1-3, using #1b140_1 as a hashtag for your tweets
  • Week Two: Chapters 4-6, using #1b140_2
  • Week Three: Chapters 7-9, using #1b140_3
  • Week Four: Chapters 10-12, #1b140_4

We want to hear what you think. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.